A Family from Barra: An Adoption Story by Beryl Martin

Beryl Martin grew up as Pat Ridge, daughter of Nellie and George. George worked at the Municipal Milk Department; Nellie fostered children, to whom she was mostly cruel. Roaming Wellington as a child and schoolgirl, Pat started work at the Zig Zag factory at 14; she ran away from home at 21, never to see Nellie again. In 1985, the Adult Adoption Information Act was passed and Pat Hawthorne (now with a name bestowed by marriage) set off to find the family she learned about only in her 50’s – the “family from Barra”. Her natural mother had died only a few years before she met her two brothers, and discovered a family ready to claim her. Barra, the smallest island in the Hebrides, was the original home of the Martin family, to which Beryl Martin, in her 60’s, returns, locating Scottish cousins and reclaiming her own history.

Adoptee Author: Beryl Martin

Publication Year: 1998



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